Blended Learning at Simmons College

Sarah Haavind
"The first challenge you have when you want to develop good discussions is to create a community where people, participants, discuss and feel safe putting out half-baked ideas, asking each other questions."
- Sarah Haavind

Blended learning opens up tremendous opportunities for innovation and improved outcomes for learners, but it also challenges us to rethink systems and processes that are fundamental to higher education. Because Simmons is a private school dedicated to liberal arts and professional education, we are invested in offering a blended learning experience congruent with our personalized approach to education.

This website is designed to share what we at Simmons College have learned about providing an institutional infrastructure of support for blended learning. It provides guidance and resources for academic administrators who are contemplating integrating blended learning into programmatic offerings, as well as suggestions for improving blended programs that are already under way. This site also provides examples, resources, and planning exercises for faculty who are new to blended learning.

Site Overview

Gear Up for a Blended Initiative includes examples of planning processes, briefing documents, and institutional policies developed by Simmons as part of the Blended Learning Initiative. In addition, this section includes a self-assessment for faculty considering blended teaching. The self-assessment is designed to help faculty identify professional development goals to prepare for the experience.

Learn How to Blend includes resources for faculty professional development, including media rich case studies that can be used as stand-alone modules in workshops or institutes, as well as a "tool showcase" with examples of technology used in support of blended learning.

Implement and Improve includes tools for assessing and improving the quality of courses. Faculty new to blended learning find that they need several years to make a smooth transition to blended teaching. To aid in that adjustment, this section includes pre-, during- and post- checklists designed to help faculty design, revise and hone blended courses. It also includes two assessment instruments that can be used to gauge student attitudes and engagement in blended courses.

Special Thanks

The Simmons College Blended Learning Initiative is funded through a generous grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s Localness Initiative.